Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Quotation Marks (Mlps)
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
A very special recording
Stephen Elman | Brighton, MA USA | 05/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Unique" is so overused now, but that's exactly what this session is - there simply is nothing quite like it in the world of music. The untranslated notes on this Japanese reissue are probably more informative than the original Japo release (which had no notes at all), but for us uninformed gaijin, it's still a guessing game about how it came together in sessions held in New York (12/1973) and Buenos Aires (4/1974). Nonetheless, (again a cliche) the music speaks for itself.
The concept might be unfairly but quickly described as bright jazz meets bittersweet South American. Apparently, Rava began with a series of poems by Argentian poet Mario Trejo and recorded three settings of them in New York. The late Jeanne Lee has rarely sounded better than she does in this context, with a superb backup band - guitarist John Abercrombie, drummer Jack DeJohnette, David Horowiz on piano and synth, Herb Bushler on bass and percussionists Ray Armando and Warren Smith - all of whom work hard to sound light and driving, very much in the spirit of Brazilian and Argentinian music.
Four months later Rava completed the album in Buenos Aires, recording four non-vocal tracks with a completely different band including the soulful bandoneon player Rodolfo Mederos, reedman Finito Bingert (who gets one nice flute solo), pianist Matias Pizarro, guitarist Ricardo Lew, and percussionists Nestor Astarita and El Chino Rossi.
The similarity in instrumentation is one element that gives the album its unity, but each of the pieces is complementary to the others - by the end of the album, you feel that you've heard a complete artistic statement.
No one element in any single piece ever overpowers the others. The music percolates along, alternately bubbly or charming or winsome or wistful, with a vocal line or trumpet solo or guitar solo or bandoneon rising above the mix and then settling back.
The colors are gorgeous - Mederos's bandoneon is beautifully recorded, Lee's breathy avant-garde vocals are set just right within the percussion, and Rava's trumpet, which at this point was already original, but shows a taste of Miles's introspection and a few of Freddie Hubbard's arpeggios, glows.
There are some subtle production touches - a little double-tracking of trumpet here, some overlaying of bandoneon intro and outro there, but you never feel that the producers have played games with the essence of the music.
You might feel that there's just a touch too much of the avant-garde in "Quotation Marks / Naranjales," but that passage only lasts a minute or so, and it actually is refreshing in the context of all the other music.
Those who've come to love Rava's music since the mid-70s and those who mourn Jeanne Lee should own this one. Yes, it's expensive, and please note that it comes in a Japanese package -cardboard sleeve rather than jewel box - but those facts just emphasize how special it is.